Would you believe me if I told you that this absolute beauty of a chocolate cake only needed four ingredients? It’s also the perfect cake for those who are gluten intolerant or allergic to nuts (or *gasp* both) and it uses minimal butter and sugar. Most importantly, this is one of the best damn chocolate cakes I’ve ever tasted.
I’m not entirely sure who Eve was exactly but oh gosh, do I love her! And I love this cake! I knew I had to make it when I perused through French by Bistro Moncur’s Damien Pignolet, and my greedy sugar-deprived eyeballs hit the page. It was adapted from the original recipe by Eve Knottenbelt, author of the 1971 published The Australian Health Food Cookbook. I’m sure he, along with legions of grateful chocolate lovers, are forever in her debt.
There’s so much to love about this that if it were legal, I’d marry it. It only needs four basic ingredients – eggs, butter, chocolate and a little sugar, which makes this completely gluten-free and nut-free. And when you chill the raw batter, it comes out as an incredibly light and airy mousse. Which means, if there ever was an appropriate time to lick the bowl*, this has to be it. I’ll forgive you if you prefer to take the bowl of batter to a more private place for sexy times but believe me. Bake it. Because the reward is more fabulous. And because you love me and trust me. Plus you can wow at how this airy mousse magically turns into a crumbly cake after a spell in the oven.
*Citrus and Candy would like to proclaim that licking the cake bowl is a perfectly legitimate practice and that one should indulge in this delicious act as often as they want. I.e. ALL THE TIME.
It bakes beautifully and looks perfect when it comes out of the oven. If only I could too. Out of bed of course, not the oven. But the real magic is when it starts to sink and shrink from the sides of the cake pan into a crater. No icing or ganache is needed because the top of the cake then becomes the perfect vessel for you to pour reserved raw cake batter over the top. When chilled, the cake is rich and slightly dense. At room temperature, it becomes light and almost sponge-like. Either way it’s pure poetry when topped with the gorgeous mousse. And to decorate, go nuts with a block of chocolate and an array of weaponry. Big knives on a melted slab for chocolate curls, vege peeler for small curls, a microplane for grated. Hell, if you want to stick that big ol’ block on top of the cake because that’s how you roll, I’m all for it.
Because there is nothing in here to disguise or compete with it, it is essential to use the best spanking quality chocolate you can find. This cake demands it. Nay, it deserves it. And because you are worth it.
This is chocolate cake at its most purest. Now let us all thank the world that we live in a world of desserts. And eggs. And butter and sugar. And of course, thank Eve. Then go and bake an extra cake and pass it over to me (you know… because I kindly shared it with you and all that).
- 360g bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 50g unsalted butter, softened
- 12 extra large eggs (65g each), separated
- 30g caster sugar (for whipping with yolks)
- 20g caster sugar (for egg whites)
- Preheat oven to 150°C. Grease and line a 26-28cm springform cake tin.
- In a double boiler over low simmering water, gently melt the chocolate then work in the soft butter.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 30g caster sugar until pale and thickened. Combine it with the melted chocolate and butter,
- In a large, clean and dry bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff but not dry. Add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks.
- Beat a quarter of the egg-white mix into the chocolate mix to loosen and mix until combined (no need to be gentle, beat the shit out of it). Add this chocolate mix back into the rest of the egg whites and gently fold until combined.
- Spoon out a quarter of the batter into a bowl and refrigerate. Pour the balance into your cake pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. It should remain a little moist in the centre. To test, press your finger into the centre of the cake after 30 minutes. The indentation should remain when you do. I left mine till 35 accidently and it was a little more cooked through than what I would’ve liked. It was still delicious, thanks for asking :)
- Remove from oven and turn out directly onto serving plate. Remove the springform ring and base and leave to cool completely. The cake will collapse to leave a crater in the centre. This is the fun part – fill the crater with the reserved cake batter and scatter with chocolate (grated, curls, you decide). Dust lightly with cocoa and serve.
- Recipe adapted from Eve Knottenbelt via French by Damien Pignolet.